Aliona Corobceanu's success story: Gamaiun project manager
Prior to engaging with integration and project development at the scale of the entire holding, she managed to gain an amazing experience in the USA, return to Moldova, start over, and become successful as a part of Grafit Holding. We found out details about her work experience abroad, at home, and how she became successful.
Where did you study and work before Grafit Holding?
I studied in Gaudeamus lyceum and got my degree from ASEM, at the Business and Administration faculty. In the second year, I was offered to go to America under the Work and Travel program. It was a popular thing among students and I really wanted to go to the US. I wasn't sure that my parents would let me go that far away, but after I told them about this offer, they supported me and even helped me financially (back then, it cost about $3,000 to participate in the program). Initially, I went to the USA for 3 months. I worked, had fun, and traveled during all that time. It felt like in an American Dream, life that you see in movies, I had the freedom, I had the money, I had access to the life of my dreams. The initial 3 months turned into 6 years full of interesting experiences, new acquaintances, friends that became my family, and – most important – my personal growth. During those 6 years in America, I changed as a person, grew up, learned to be independent and self-confident, and became fully responsible for my life and my choices.
What were you doing during those 6 years in the USA? Was it difficult to get integrated into life in a completely different country?
It wasn't hard for me to integrate. I consider myself a positive, open, and communicative person. I believe these traits helped me to adapt to the new situation and fast life pace rather quickly.

Upon coming to America, I worked in a supermarket under a contract. I was making about $250 for two weeks and was absolutely happy. I worked half-time in the store, so I additionally found a job as a waitress, in a Mexican restaurant that was on my way home. Back then, I knew Spanish well – I learned it at home, while watching soap operas, as strange as it may sound. Although I've never seriously studied Spanish, I actually speak and write in it very well. I worked at that same chain of restaurants all my remaining time in the USA. That was where I learned a lot about responsibility, work ethics, customer relations, client loyalty, communication, and equality.

In America, it doesn't matter what your position is – whether you're a waiter, manager, or owner, you're working with everybody else side by side. There's no such thing as, "this is not my job", when something needs to be done, – everyone works to achieve the common goal. And, yes, in the USA, the customer is always right, even if he's not. Besides working, I've done some traveling too. I visited some of the largest cities in the USA, including Chicago, Miami, New Orleans, Washington, Orlando, and Atlanta (I didn't make it to New York City, and really regret it). I worked a lot, had fun, and enjoyed every opportunity life was giving me.
Why did you return home?
After living in the USA for five years, I managed to fix up my papers and go to Moldova for a visit. Despite being well-settled in America in terms of the apartment, car, work, and friends, I liked the way I felt at home after missing out for 5 years, I felt secure and had all the family warmth and attention, it felt calm. So, for a year after my first visit, I was flying back and forth to America, until one day I decided to sell everything I had and return home. This time, my parents supported me once again and I'm very grateful for that. I believe that I took everything I needed from America. Most important is the experience of being alone in the world, where the only person you can fully rely on is YOU.
I believe that I took everything I needed from America. Most important is the experience of being alone in the world, where the only person you can fully rely on is YOU.
How did you get to know Grafit Holding?
After returning from the States I rested for about 3 months. The rhythm I lived in for the previous 6 years really drained me, so I allowed myself the luxury of enjoying a longer vacation. When I was ready, I went to my first interview, that was for a job at Grafit Holding, for the SovaMax project, particularly.

My interview was held in a small kitchen, because the company didn't have a separate room for interviews and meetings. At that time, the SovaMax project consisted of about 10-15 people. I liked the conditions, work schedule, decent salary, sale bonuses, and other benefits. All of that sounded promising, but most importantly – I felt that it was exactly what I needed because I had the opportunity to continue communicating in English and Spanish languages.

My career at Grafit Holding started in 2013. Back then, we had 5 people in the sales department, I was the sales representative on the Spanish and Portuguese market. After three months into work, I was awarded the promised bonus, which motivated me even more. I spent 6.5 years working in SovaMax's sales department, getting gradually promoted to positions of Senior Sales, Team Leader, Sales Manager, Senior Sales Manager, and Business Developer. I gained a completely different experience compared to America, but not less meaningful in any way. I am very lucky that my manager and mentor was the most professional and wonderful person – Cristina Vakre, who taught me absolutely everything related to sales and management, as well as about emotional and professional intelligence.

During my work at Sovamax, I managed to go on business trips to Frankfurt, Dortmund, Moscow, Bucharest, Kiev, Balti, and Madrid. The business trip to Spain was the most special one, because I went to Madrid in the morning, then went to the planned meeting, and I was back home by dinner, so I basically zipped in and zipped out. The thing I'm proudest of is that I managed to motivate my team members to evolve, grow professionally, be ambitious and faithful to the company, and be the people that ultimately take senior positions in Grafit.

I've been working for Gamaiun for one and a half years. Here I have completely different processes, I'm learning new things from incredibly smart people, and am gaining new experience.
Why Grafit? Why are you here for over 8 years?
At Grafit, I always felt the confidence that everything is done correctly. Here we do not have any sort of nepotism or favoritism, everyone has equal chances for professional growth and development. The company invests in its employees and is looking for solutions that would help each one of them to evolve. For example, I personally attended multiple trainings paid by Grafit with such world-famous speakers, as Evghenii Kotov, Lorand Soares Szasz, Maxim Batyrev, Brian Tracy, Michael Bang, and others.

Financial stability is another important aspect, because with every step in the career, you have the opportunity to gain more. One other detail is the fact that out of about 90 salaries that I received till now, I've only had one delayed salary payment, and even then it was just 3 or 4 days, if I'm not mistaken.
What are your hobbies?
I desperately love to travel. If someone tells me right now that tomorrow we're leaving farther than 30 km from Chisinau, I'm off to packing my suitcase. Besides American cities and the cities I visited in my business trips, I also visited Lisbon, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Praha, Budapest, Cyprus island, and other wonderful places throughout Europe. I noticed a big difference between America and Europe: the last is much richer in terms of historical landmarks and places with wonderful nature. I don't plan to stop on whatever I've achieved, I have a huge list waiting for me: Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Istanbul, Rome, Florence, Madeira island, I'm also thinking about Cuba… perhaps, I'll make it to New York some day.
What do you think, why are people leaving Moldova? What are they lacking here? What should change to reduce immigration rates?
Material wealth and perspectives aside, people want to live in a different society. Unfortunately, we have a long way to go before we make it to the European mentality. People that leave and return after a while already have a different vision, and I believe that in 10-20 years the society will change. People are leaving to provide a better life to their children. I know rich families, who left as well. Why? Because of society. This is what we should start with, and I'm sure that everything will be fine. I believe that we can create a better life at home for future generations. Everything starts with us. I returned back home and I want to believe that I am a part of that wave that can change the society.
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